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June 2014
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Senseless Rambling
A Long Overdue Editorial
Life has been so busy that, sadly, many things have been unsaid.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin


  To say that life here has been busy over the past two years would be an understatement of epic proportions! Part of the reason for this delayed editorial, or 'Senseless Ramblings' as I call it, is that there simply was no time to write it before June 1. In addition, there were subjects discussed during T.H.E. Show 2014 in Newport Beach that helped me gather my feelings on a variety of long overdue subject matter. Thus the variety of discussions between myself and others at T.H.E. Show helped me to solidify my feelings and thoughts you are about to read below. Some are well-known within the industry yet may have been unsaid in cyberprint. Hopefully this article covers some of those topics.


The Beginning
Technically, our humble industry began when an inventor first devised a way to capture and reproduce audio. If we fast-forward a small bit in the overall history of the human species, there were two men with both vision and the balls to startup their respected publications. Not one to play politics, I flipped a coin to see who's name would be first and Harry Pearson of The Absolute Sound won the toss. Am 99 44/100th percent sure every longstanding reviewer within the high fidelity audio industry has been influenced by HP. His extremely articulate writing style is mated with immense knowledge and passion. He was very demanding of his writers before an article appeared within The Absolute Sound. We old-timers also admire J. Gordon Holt as he began Stereophile magazine. JGH sought to move our then humble and small industry forward. His love of music always shined through. And that, as they say, began our industry's fabled 'once upon a time.'

In many ways I enjoy analyzing the ebb and flow of many things within human society. The high fidelity audio industry piques my interest for many reasons. From the truly brilliant minds such as proprietary code-meister Theta Digital's Neil Sinclair who worked at JPL Labs to tube genius Lew Conrad of conrad-johnson and the wonderfully charismatic personality, multi-lingual mastery and insanely vast musical/business knowledge of Peter Qvortrup of Audio Note UK. Way back when local genius Glenn Zelniker of Z-Systems, whose labs i visited a few times as he showed me the first high-def digital equalizer and allowed me to experiment/review it. The nearly countless people at MIT, audiologists around the world... There are so very many incredible engineers (Dolby, Toole, D'Appolito, Curl, Pass, etc, etc and etc) within our industry, so please accept my apologies as to name them all and provide in-depth details would literally take a book.

Consider this Senseless Rambling more of an extremely brief 'highlight reel' as it were. If for some reason you feel slighted because you were not specifically named, please accept my humble apologies as to write a book providing all details would be great yet have zero 'spare time.' Frankly, am sure if we took 100% of my knowledge on this topic there would be only a moderate percentage of the overall story as our industry has many twists and turns that are still left unsaid, and thus have never been published. Sadly, there is not enough time to complete all the things on my proverbial plate today that I'd like to complete; let alone within the highly limited lifespan of my human body during the time my brain and other functions will allow optimum results.


The Reviewers
On the reviewer side, am so very impressed by John Atkinson of Stereophile and Robert Harley of The Absolute Sound. John, for all the things you have done to keep Stereophile at the forefront of the industry over the years is worthy of a Nobel Prize. John continues to be active within a variety of discussions boards while being Editor, measurement guru, etc for Stereophile. No one fully knows all the details and situations John has successfully navigated over the years. He has always stayed the course in his beliefs and imho someone should buy Stereophile and straight-out gift it to John with no strings attached. While the variety of owners of the Stereophile property have simply written checks or stock swapped to get the title, John Atkinson has earned full ownership. No one has done more to keep Stereophile at the height of prestige within the high fidelity audio community. John has kept the magazine true to its core and i highly admire his efforts.

I always enjoy reading articles and reviews by Robert Harley. From his early years to Fi magazine... to many years as Editor of The Absolute Sound. Robert's organizational skills must be truly epic as he continues to deliver so many incredible things that keeps this industry flowing. One can only imagine all the work it takes to successfully deliver TAS' Illustrated History of High-End Audio book series. Robert is one of the great guys who is a steady source of honest assessments coupled with brilliant insights.

David W. Robinson of Positive Feedback has been around from nearly the beginning of time. Ok, perhaps that is a slight overstatement, yet he has always 'been there' during my lifecycle within this industry. His love of music, today's DSD and to move the industry forward without regard to his personal commercial success always brings a smile to my face. If you are ever at an event, invest a few minutes of your time chatting with David and am sure you'll come away with food-for-thought and a big smile on your face. David's enthusiasm is infectious in all the right ways.

Tyll Hertsens and I go waaay back. And yes, Tyll did sexually aurally (is there really a difference?) accost me in an elevator decades ago and placed headphones on my head to listen. These were the very early days of gorilla marketing his Headroom endeavors on the Internet. From Tyll's wacky and humorous 'Brother's in Las Vegas' saga to cross-dressing, to any other way to get the eyes, ears and undivided attention of music lovers.... Over the years we all saw Tyll's duties expand and his infectious love for headphones, portable DAC, battery-powered amps, etc helped to invent create the highly successful portable audio and accessories industry we know today. No matter what he did or where he was, Tyll always came DTF (down to fun). During those early Web years Tyll was one of my personal heroes, but don't tell him that as we'll just keep it a secret between us. Tyll was one of the very few at the time who seemed to understand the newfangled Internet and how to reach and engage an audience. Today, he heads InnerFidelity and is armed with his amazing hearing ability, technical analysis and specialized measurement equipment to then share said data in a way everyone can easily comprehend. If I may humble add, it also shows the wisdom or John Atkinson to bring Tyll into the TEN: The Enthusiast Network fold.

It many ways it deeply saddens me that few audiophiles know about Bill Burton (blogger profile). During my life's travels I have enjoyed top quality home, portable and yes car audio too. My personal love of music has no situational or geographic boundaries. Bill Burton was the technical editor of various leading car audio magazine when car audio was just starting to break out. Bill Burton was a member of CompuServe's CEAudio board way back when and we would always meet during CES to discuss the highly technical side of car audio. Crazy ideas too, like my active adaptive bass due to the changing parameters of a vehicle's interior as one opened the sunroof or convertible top, to have the system optimize things due to environmental changes. Keep in mind this was in the very early 90's when digital processors were still, well, very limited on processing and memory storage at the consumer level. Bill's knowledge aided in teaching me quite a bit about phase parameters, timing, etc as the home environment is very easy to control as compared to the far more challenging car audio environment. Bill and I judged a few IASCA competitions for the Sound Quality portion and we would sit in cars and not only judge them for the competition, we would discuss the technical details of the system too. These were during the infancy of what we now know as a multi-billion dollar custom auto sound industry it is today. I remember crying when hearing of his passing, as his last few years were a bit of a challenge and our correspondence and phone conversations (and CES meetings) became less frequent.


The Growth
Over the years have enjoyed watching the growth in the ability get the crowd participating too! From the limited CompuServe CEAudio days, to TAN (The Audiophile Network) BBS, to newsgroups where I aided in ensuring a brand new discussion board/group called Rec.Audio.Tubes appeared as it was the very first worldwide vacuum tube discussion board/newsgroup. Was hoping the Sound Practices then e-mailing list, affectionately called the Joelist, would move to Rec.Audio.Tubes yet it didn't. Wading through all those e-mails was a task in and of itself due to its immense popularity at the time. Just got an e-mail from a reader of this article that the Joelist is still alive and doing well, with the past archives available at this link. you can see the archivs . Today the sky is the limit! The sheer knowledge and numbers within the AVS site is staggering and they had perhaps the largest crowd at T.H.E. Show 2014. It was great to meet Sir Wilkinson, because he should be Knighted for his efforts within AVS, TWiT and the industry in general. Head-Fi's own Jude Mansilla has been incredible with his efforts on many things personal/mobile audio. Jude's videos are some of the best within the community too.

It is always humbling to see so many great things happening on so many fronts within the high fidelity audio industry. Everyone within the industry gladly shares their love of music and, in many ways, has dedicated their life to sharing it with you.

There are so many other's I'd love to cover here, yet between releasing two Review Magazines for Enjoy the Music.com, getting four partner mags updated online, daily industry news, RSS feed... and two show reports online within the past month or so plus assigning new gear to writers.... You get the idea. And this leads us to...


My Apologies
The past two years has been incredibly busy finalizing a few things non-audio related. Dot Com 2.0 has been wonderful and things are moving along pretty much as predicted. The next few years are going to be outstanding for the high fidelity audio industry! The resurgence of vinyl with the younger generation, high-rez digital going kinda mainstream, streaming music's popularity in general, today's easy installation of your own cloud/NAS... The future is very promising and with Ultra HD/4K video needing massive bandwidth, our comparatively small file size 24-bit/192kHz will be a piece of cake. Apple's newly hired Cult of Personality(s) to replace the Steve Jobs Cult centers around music. Sounds good to me (pun intended).

With so much going on here over the past few years, I have let you down. There are so many unwritten articles, ideas, etc that have never made it to light. During the middle of 2013 I discussed with my wife Heather that I'll be slowing down to enjoy more time with her. Am going to completely avoid any medical or other situations, as discussing them here is not desired and getting any show of sympathy from others only pisses me off plus dealing/discussing that will only slow me down from the immense workload in front of me. So there was a plan to slow down.... Then came my crazy idea of getting a 1080/60i state-of-the-art mobile broadcasting studio. Have admired Leo Laporte since first seeing him on ZDTV and if you're a true geek like me, you really need to check out TWiT. Leo has virtually always promoted others above himself, was honest with his assessments of OS' and products, is very helpful and patient to newbies plus allowed many truly talented people their own platform to shine. For those curious, Enjoy the Music.TV uses the same core TriCaster video/production system as TWiT. My apologies that there are not more interviews using the TV studio online, yet I do plan to have many more online as this year progresses. Like many resources here, there are so many things that can be done yet with what time? Having a new TV studio gathering dust is a big waste of resources, yet I look over my main monitor here in the office and there she sits beckoning me to 'release the hounds'.

With that said I think it is time to slow down a bit. Famous last words, I know, and Heather has heard this line of bullshit from me before. When one says in a flippant manner that their high-paced workload is killing them... There are so many things I feel need to be accomplished within the limited time available. And so....


New Senior Editor And Senior Reviewer
It brings me immense joy to announce our promoting Ron Nagle to Senior Reviewer. Have also been looking to hire new, high quality talented and enthusiastic writers. The simple fact is that I feel I am causing a bottle-neck and, thus, less is being done in places that desperately need attention. Enjoy the Music.com's main homepage looked like crap for forever, and hopefully the very recent changes at least make it suck less than before. Next year we will celebrate Enjoy the Music.com's 20th Anniversary and the entire site desperately needs aesthetics improvements. I know, I know, I said my workload would slow down. Sure it will.

It would bring me immense joy to give away every photo ever taken of the industry during the past 20 years in higher rez jpg format as a gift to the industry. This is along the same lines that the TV studio is a gift, since no sane person would expect ROI on that expenditure(!). All photos would be offered free of charge and anyone can use them as they so desire. This includes the very early KDC (Kodak proprietary) format photos. In total that is nearly 10,000 files in over 450 folders according to the NAS drive, yet am sure within those folders are some personal photos that, well, are personal and thus how to manage it all. There are so many other things that would be great to accomplish, yet with what time? How is one to set priorities and still have some semblance of truly living and experiencing all the wonderful things life has to offer outside this industry? Anyone can exist, yet to truly live life is key. On that note my personal Muse, wife, and all-around cheerleader Heather has been a blessing. If anyone can 'wake me up' to the much-needed slow down to extend my timeline she can.

If for some demented reason you have read this far, my most sincere and humble thanks for visiting Enjoy the Music.com over the years. My hopes are that you have been entertained, and perhaps learned something that has enhanced the joy within your life. My apologies for some of my personal 'Senseless' and cryptic, to sometimes downright infuriating and frustrating, articles. In some ways this site is nearly two decades of streaming-thought blogging. Hopefully, even in some small way, this site has somehow been of service to you. Above all else, and after careful calculation have typed it well over 50,000 times over the years, the next phrase means just as much to me today as when first typed on CompuServe as my original signature line....

As always, in the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Editor and Creative Director, Enjoy the Music.com








































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